Egypt' prime minister Mostafa Madbouly (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egypt said on Monday that it will allow funeral prayers and weddings “in open spaces only” starting 21 September, after a six-month-long closure of these services due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Cabinet statement, funeral prayers will only be permitted outside mosques or in their open courtyards while adhering to preventive measures.
Weddings will be permitted only in open spaces in hotels that have hygiene safety certificates, with a maximum capacity of 300 people under strict commitment to anti-coronavirus measures, the statement said, adding that the health and tourism ministers will review reopening health clubs in hotels starting next week.
Theatre and film festivals will be allowed to hold their opening and closing ceremonies in open-air spaces, with their cinema and theatre shows held at 50 percent occupancy capacity.
Conferences and symposiums will be allowed at an occupancy rate of 50 percent and a maximum attendance of 150 people.
On cultural activities, the Alexandria International Book Fair will be held in an open area, the statement added, allowing a school-focused exhibit to be held at the Cairo International Convention Centre from 20 to 28 September.
The Cabinet said that adult education activities and literacy classes will be resumed with preventive measures applied in closed spaces.
Training in Egypt’s Second Division will be resumed, with swimming pools open in clubs in accordance with hygiene requirements set by the health ministry.
Egypt has moved towards a gradual reopening of its economy since late June, lifting some of its anti-virus restrictions, including lifting a nighttime curfew, reopening restaurants and places of worship, and resuming regular international flights as part of a plan to coexist with the virus.
Cafes, restaurants, and other venues now operate until 12am, with commercial malls and shops to close at 10pm. They currently operate at an increased maximum occupancy rate of 50 percent instead of the previous limit of 25 percent.
Authorities have said that lockdown measures would be reviewed periodically before they decide to gradually relax them further, warning that "strict measures" would be imposed if citizens failed to adhere to the rules.
Egypt has repeatedly urged caution to avoid a second wave of the pandemic, particularly with the advent of autumn.
Egypt currently has an infection tally of 101,009 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 5,648 deaths since the first case was discovered on 14 February.